A Cake of Two Halves

First versionThis cake was made for a friend who was godmother to the little girl being christened.  It was a three layer vanilla Madeira cake, filled with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream, then covered and decorated with fondant.  The hood was made from rice krispie treats, shaped with the aid of a ball cake tin, also covered and decorated with fondant.

Strawberry cupcakes with pink baby feet piped decorations

Vanilla cupcakes with baby themed piped decorationsThere were also coordinating strawberry and vanilla cupcakes, decorated with fondant and piped sugar shapes.

Everything was boxed up and ready to deliver the following day, and then disaster struck…Disaster strikesJust before going to bed I discovered the hood of the crib had fallen off backwards, making this horrific mess 😦We can rebuildChristening Cake Part TwoHowever, I am British, so I did not falter; I called upon my birth bestowed stiff upper lip, girded my loins, then proceeded to strip off the fondant from the hood and back third of the cake, adding better supports, before re-decorating. I actually preferred the second, less fussy version.

Sweet dreamsKeepsake PlaqueHand crafted fondant and modelling chocolate baby and bear, and gumpaste keepsake plaque.
IMG-20140528-WA0001Eventually the cake was delivered intact and with a huge sigh of relief.  Later, this photo of it in situ at the party was sent to me, along with delighted feedback about how it looked and tasted.

All’s well that ends well!

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A bit of drama

Music & DramaCake & Coordinating cupcakesA film, music and theatre themed cake for a birthday celebration being shared by three lovely friends.

Two layer dense, rich chocolate fudge cake filled with light and creamy vanilla Italian meringue buttercream. Covered with fondant and finished with hand crafted fondant and gumpaste decorations.  No moulds were involved in making the decorations and I was really pleased with the way they turned out.Celebrating 3 times If music be...Vanilla cupcakes with flavoured fondant top and hand crafted fondant decorations – lemon flavour for the musical notes and vanilla flavour for the stars.

Tickets please...Vanilla cupcakes with strawberry flavoured fondant top and hand crafted fondant decorations.

The cutting cake suffered an accident in transit.  The taxi driver tasked with taking me to deliver it chose to ignore my pleas to drive carefully and slowly, spinning away from the house before the cake and I were properly secure, thus causing a cake slide and some quite visible damage.  I managed to cobble the edging rope and curtains back together, but could do nothing about the large dent that can be seen at the back of cake.  Gah!

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Wrestling cake

That title could be interpreted either as a description of the cake, or as a description of what I did with the cake.  Both interpretations would be appropriate.

WWE Championship beltThe wrestling cake was originally going to be this shape, with piped royal icing creating the top design.  I’d been thinking I really needed to practice my piping skills (those non-existent ones), hence the rather mad decision to pipe this intricate design.

All was going well.  It was going far better than well.  Far, FAR better.  I’m telling you, I was the piping queen.  I’m gutted I didn’t take pictures – lesson learned there about documenting the process and not just the finished products.

I’d just placed the near completed design on the shaped and covered cake and was preparing to do final touches when disaster struck; I managed to somehow joggle my own elbow (How?  How does one even do that?!), and splashed black food colouring all over the bloody thing.

With the cake expected for my friend’s son the following day, and there being only 10 hours remaining of the night before I was expected at the day job, I was a little pressed for time.  I could have tried re-piping it but this proposition seemed a trifle unrealistic considering the ruined one had taken me some 20+ hours of work to make.  However, without the top decoration, the underlying cake shape didn’t make sense and I couldn’t work out, at such short notice, how to get the design on there.  It definitely wasn’t going to work using fondant/gumpaste/modelling chocolate, and my painting skills don’t come anywhere close to being good enough to try free-handing it with food colouring (visions of Cake Wrecks danced in my head).

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A century to celebrate

It was an absolute honour when a family friend asked me to make a cake for her Aunt’s 100th birthday, and of course I immediately agreed.

The theme was to be Blackpool and the only other stipulation was that it be easy to transport, as they had to travel some distance with it.

100 Today!

I created this traditional triple layer vanilla sponge, filled with strawberry jam and vanilla Italian meringue buttercream, covered with fondant and decorated with a seaside theme.

She sells sea shells...Lustred fondant seashells flavoured variously with cappuccino, toffee and chocolate.

DeckchairGumpaste deckchair with fondant seat and sugar sand.  Next time, I’d leave out the ‘across’ stripe and would use a lighter colour for the wooden struts.

Chish & FipsIf you ate the fondant fish and chips, the headline news read “100 Today!”

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Q: How much pain can a broken shoe cause?

A: It is immeasurable, particularly when coupled with a low fat, low sugar, reduced carb chocolate cake with choc/mint filling, suitable for a diabetic*!

*There is no such thing as ‘suitable for diabetics fondant’ – clearly the outer covering of fondant would need to be removed from this cake before a person with diabetes consumed it.  But I’m sure I didn’t need to tell you that.

completed shoe cakeWhen I agreed to do this cake I must have been under the influence of a full moon or something.  Making it was a horrible experience that took me through full scale tantrums (not a pretty sight) and left me with my confidence shot to pieces.

On the plus side, I learned some extremely valuable lessons.

Trial diabetic cakeOf course, the first thing I had to do was to come up with a cake recipe suitable for diabetics.  This was really difficult and took a LOT of trial bakes.  Trust me, when it comes to cake there is no such thing as a good sugar substitute…my experience was that they either made the cakes look great but taste vile, or the cake tasted ok(ish) but didn’t rise properly.  In the end I managed to come up with something suitable using a mix of xylitol, fructose and a tiny amount of muscovado sugar.

Toothpaste frostingThe next issue was the frosting.  Mint/chocolate was the request but, try as I might, I couldn’t stop it from tasting like toothpaste.  It didn’t help that the sugar free frosting recipe I initially used ended up also having the consistency of toothpaste.  The taste-testers tried gamely but feedback wasn’t good.

In the end I used a packet mix of chocolate flavour sugar free whipped dessert as the base for the frosting, adding a bit of the toothpastey stuff for firmer texture and a touch of mint flavour.  It was passable.  At least it wasn’t green.  I didn’t take any pictures.

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Cake and Pimms, Dahling?

I started to get a clue that my cakes and family birthdays were becoming a synonymous thing when I received a telephone call from my mother, which went something like this:

Mum:  “Your sister and I have been discussing my upcoming birthday.  I’d really like to have a Pimms and cake party, but there’s a problem.”

(Pause to allow me to make appropriate querying noises)

Mum: “Yes.  You see, we have the Pimms side of things sorted.  We have the ingredients for Pimms cocktails.  We know how to make Pimms cocktails.  The problem is the cake.  We have such a severe shortage of it.  In fact, we have none!”

(Slight pause for dramatic deep breath…continues, in tones of faux distress…)

“This is such a huge problem, we don’t know how to get ’round it.  And I do SO want a Pimms and cake party for my birthday.  I don’t suppose you have any ideas, do you?”

(Pause, filled with expectant waiting and the sound of Big Sis giggling in the background.)

Me: “Would you like me to make you some cakes for your birthday party?”

Mum (in totally feigned surprise): “Oh, would you?  How incredible of you to offer!”

And so, this is how it came about that I made four fresh cakes for my Mum’s 2013 birthday party, including my third fondant covered and decorated cake.

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